Half Marathon #6… a new PR by 11 minutes and an improvement over last year’s Iron Girl by 32 minutes! Knocked my own socks off!
This race is a little sentimental because it was my first half marathon last year. My mom and I ran it together as our first half! My goal a year ago was to beat 3 hours. With the three hour pacers ahead of me the entire race, I was concerned about making this goal. As I rounded the last corner, I caught up to the 3 hour pacers and finished in 2:58! I was thrilled! Read more about my last Iron Girl here!
Over the last year I have made lots of progress and was hoping to end the season with a bang! My PR (personal record) before this race was 2:36:31 at Disney – a relatively flat course, but I did stop and take photos along the way! My goal this year was to achieve the sub 2:30 half! I knew that I had to maintain under a 11:30 minute pace and had my goals in sight. I didn’t look down at my watch that often. I just ran!
So pre-race evening we went to church for the Easter egg hunt and church (since we wouldn’t be at church the next morning!), which was followed by a carb loaded dinner at Steak n Shake! I ate a bowl of chili, a Fresco melt, french fries and a Snickers milk shake! It was delicious and I slept like a baby with a full belly!
The next morning, my mom and I set out for Clearwater at 5am and arrived to get a perfect parking spot in plenty of time to walk through the vendors, stretch and use the little girls room (aka the porta potty!). We also took a quick photo with the bridge in the background. The biggest of the two bridges that were before us!
I got to see Nanci (over at This Crazy Life of Mine) before we took off and before I knew it is was time! I started about at the three hour pacers with my mom. I gave myself the goal of walking only at water stops and I kept pretty close to that. After we got away from the excitement of the start and the first bridge I turned my music on. I listened to the playlist that was made for my Team Freedom run back in February when we raised money for human trafficking. It is a great mix of contemporary worship music and motivational snip-its. I knew it would keep me moving!
About mile 3, I had caught up to the 2:30 pacers and I forged ahead – determined to keep them behind me! On the way back, I grabbed a chilled towel – they had kiddie pools with ice and water that they were pulling soaked towels out of. They only had about four handfuls of towels left and I had a feeling that my mom wouldn’t get one by the time she got there. It was a delightful treat that I don’t remember them having last year! I got almost to mile 9 when I passed my mom and I gave her the towel! The sun was out in full glory and a cool towel felt wonderful!
Every year the views amaze me – almost to the point that I forget to take pictures! Here is the only picture of the view that I took this year from the top of the Sand Key bridge. As you can see the sun was out in force!
On the home stretch I was feeling strong not super fatigued, but ready to reach the finish line. As I made the incline up the last bridge, just after mile marker 12, I walked up the bridge and looked down at my watch- Elasped time: 2:18:27! OH MY! I knew that I couldn’t make 2:20, but I was going to well under shoot my goal of a under 2:30.
Final time: 2:25:08 – I still can’t believe it! I can’t imagine that in one year I made that much progress. There were tears. Behind my new Boston Bill sunglass, there were tears – of joy, of pride, of sheer excitement.
After collecting my medal and a bottle of water, I returned to the finish line area to cheer my mom on. I made conversation with a gentleman next to me who I later on learned is a Suncoast Strider who was selected on Monday to run in the Chicago Marathon! Small world! Can’t wait to watch his journey to Chicago!
Here’s the rest of the pictures 🙂